By Michael Buhler
The Clearwater Indians girls basketball team made a few adjustments when it returned to practice after the holidays. Last Friday night, those adjustments paid off with a 58-36 win over Rose Hill.
The Indians raced out to a 15-6 lead after one period and pushed the lead to 15 points (29-14) by halftime. A third-quarter surge made it a 42-20 game heading into the final period.
“We made a few changes in the first week of practice back emphasizing transition points and paint touches,” Clearwater coach Casey Carlson said. “We finished the game with 17 transition points, at least 30 paint touches and 23 points off turnovers. For us to be successful the rest of the year, this is the trend that needs to continue. This was by far our best effort as a team.”
Clearwater pressured Rose Hill into 24 turnovers for the night, finished with 13 steals and also went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line last Friday night.
“Our press really got to them early,” Carlson said. “We were able to turn them over several times in their first 3-4 possessions that led to layups. Our length on the wings of our press really cause issues as teams have a hard time passing over the press. Laurel Streit is a force on the press with her long arms and had five steals in the game.”
Carli Carlson and Elizabeth Tjaden each had big games, finishing with 29 and 16 points, respectively.
“Carli Carlson played really well,” coach Carlson said. “When she is able to get out and run and get going early, it helps her to get into the flow of the game. She also led us with 11-for-23 shooting. Freshman Elizabeth Tjaden appears to be settling in. She was also 4-for-5 from the 3-point line. If Elizabeth can play consistently at a high level, both she and Carli will be a tough duo to defend.”
The Indians hosted Mulvane earlier this week and hit the road to take on a “really good” Wellington team on Friday.
“It’s going to be a challenging week for sure,” coach Carlson said.
Clearwater: Carli Carlson 29, Elizabeth Tjaden 16, Kyndall Clevenger 5, Brooke Berlin 4, Parker Stevens 2, Streit 2.